AUBURN, Ala. (WRBL) — An Alabama man found guilty of littering for leaving potted flowers on his fiancée’s grave has been arrested again, this time on allegations of driving under the influence of alcohol.
Lee County Sheriff’s deputies confirm that 32-year-old Winston Chester Hagans was arrested on allegations of DUI and booked into the Lee County Detention Facility on June 14. WRBL has reached out to Hagans, his family, and his attorney for a statement and has not yet heard back.
Hagans received support from all over the country after he was arrested and charged with criminal littering for leaving a handmade flower box on fiancée Hannah Ford’s grave. Ford was 27 years old when she died in a car crash. It was the same day the couple had chosen their wedding venue.
Winchester was found guilty by a municipal judge during a bench trial on June 9. The judge said in open court he was tasked with following the law, not emotion, and the flowers were a clear violation based on testimony and evidence. The judge also offered his condolences to Hagans, and the complainant, Dr. Tom Ford, for the loss of Hagans’ fiancé, who was Dr. Ford’s daughter. Hagans intends to file an appeal, which could lead to a jury trial.
Hannah Ford was killed in January 2021. Hagans built a flower box covered with engagement pictures to place at her grave at Auburn’s Memorial Park Cemetery. Hagans did not testify during the trial but has said in the past that the couple had a strained relationship with some members of Hannah’s family, and someone kept throwing the flowers away.
Hagans kept rebuilding the box and putting the flowers back. Hagans says Hannah’s family never told him directly to stop leaving flowers.
In January 2022, Dr. Tom Ford signed a complaint against Hagans. Dr. Ford testified he did everything he could to avoid having the issue in court. Dr. Ford testified that numerous flower boxes were placed on his daughter’s gravesite without his permission, and he placed a camera in a nearby tree. He testified that Hagans was advised not to place unauthorized items on the grave, but it didn’t stop.
The judge ordered Hagans to pay a $50 fine and $251 in court costs. Hagans was not sentenced to jail. The judge also advised Hagans to find another location to honor his fiancé‘s memory that was not on someone else’s property.
The city prosecutor could not comment because the case is under appeal. Dr. Ford also declined to comment. Hagans and his attorney say they plan to appeal the littering verdict.